Why one high-end London restaurant made the switch to induction

When Matt Lovell and Rob Hampton’s seafood street food stall came to fruition in 2016, they quickly outgrew the capacity in which they could serve some of the UK’s highest-quality oysters.

The stall soon transformed into a pop-up concept in South Kensington, before the duo opened the doors to The Oystermen, a high-end seafood restaurant in London’s bustling Covent Garden in 2017.

Initially serving up to 26 customers, the site expanded to double its size in October 2018 when Matt and Rob acquired the neighbouring premises. This obviously led to a large-scale refurbishment as the wall between the two buildings was knocked down and the downstairs area was extended, which resulted in the restaurant closing for five weeks.

Complete commercial kitchen specialists, Target Catering Equipment, were called in to help design the extremely small front of house kitchen area, after the team met the family-run business at a catering show in Birmingham and were impressed with the efficient use of space in their bespoke designs.

With plans to serve up to 47 people at one time and around 150 per day, the team designed and built an integrated bespoke induction cooking suite with an induction plancha, fryer and SelfCookingCenter XS.

Special induction stockpot boiling zones were integrated into the suite with a high-level stockpot filling tap, specifically for the cooking of seafood. The unit also incorporated a solid top induction hob suitable for multiple small pan use and an induction plancha griddle for delicate, direct cooking. Filtration deep fat fryers and specialist fish refrigeration drawers were also added into the design, as well as a specialist hot and cold pass that had a heated gantry on top and pass-through refrigeration below.

The equipment has allowed head chef Alex Povall, a prodigy of Angela Hartnett, the former head chef of Gordon Ramsay, and his team to manage the kitchen effectively, while increasing their efficiency through the induction technology’s superior capabilities.

The induction unit, in particular, has allowed the team to serve guests at a significantly faster rate, which Alex says is especially useful in the West End with the high number of pre-theatre diners.

In addition, the chefs now experience far less burns by using induction and cleaning has become easier too, which is a welcome addition considering the restaurant serve 40kg+ whole English brown cock crabs on a daily basis.

The Oystermen made the switch to induction as they wanted to make their chefs’ lives easier and keep a low turnover of staff, something which they are proud of achieving – especially as it’s currently one of the biggest issues in the industry.

Alex concluded that his new induction technology has helped to simplify the job and improve overall energy efficiency, which has had a positive impact on the restaurant both financially and environmentally.

By Target Catering Equipment is a family-run business that has been providing quality, bespoke catering equipment to the foodservice industry for over 30 years

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